ATLANTA -- Michael Soroka’s long-anticipated return to the Majors will occur when the Braves’ right-hander starts against the A’s on Monday night in Oakland.
Braves manager Brian Snitker made this return official Sunday night after his team’s 11-4 victory over the Phillies. Soroka flew to Oakland ahead of the Braves’ series against the A’s. To make room on the roster for Soroka, Dereck Rodríguez was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
“I’m super happy and super excited for him and all the work that he's put in to get back to this spot,” teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. said through an interpreter.
“We haven't been able to see him pitch at this level for a while. We’re so excited to see him do that and, honestly, just hoping for continued good health.”
Soroka, 25, is returning to the Majors for the first time since he tore his right Achilles tendon while coming off the mound to cover first base on Aug. 3, 2020. It has been a rough three-year stretch for Soroka, who again tore his right Achilles tendon while simply walking in the Braves clubhouse for treatment and rehab on June 24, 2021. Another year-long rehab followed.
“What he went through the past couple years, that will really test you,” Snitker said. “This guy was upbeat, and he was driven to get back out there. I’ve got a lot of respect for how he went about it. It’s going to be cool. I’m excited about getting him back out there.”
Soroka’s bid to win a spot in Atlanta’s rotation out of Spring Training this year ended when he strained his right hamstring the day before he drove from Atlanta to the Braves’ complex in Florida.
In 2019, Soroka finished second in National League Rookie of the Year balloting after posting a 2.68 ERA over 29 starts. It’s too early to know if he will ever reach that level again. But his return should certainly help the Braves’ injury-depleted rotation, which is without Max Fried and Kyle Wright.
Soroka posted a 4.33 ERA over eight starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this year. He limited Durham, the Rays’ affiliate, to one run and two hits during a 96-pitch, six-inning effort on Tuesday. Soroka was listed as Gwinnett's starter on Sunday before he was a healthy scratch, presumably because the Braves need him.
“We feel like he’s in a good place and the time is right,” Snitker said.